Kristian Laliberte & Co. Developing a ‘Hills’-in-Manhattan Reality Show
Sometimes, the world around you creates situations that you never thought could be so perfectly distilled into brilliance that it’s just stunning, like the invention of meat on a stick and that Website about men who look like old lesbians. This is one of those times. Kristian Laliberte on camera, all day long? What could be better? (Well, a competition show where monkeys throw poop at Oscar-winning actresses would be better, but we like to keep our expectations within reach.) According to Emily Brill, authoress of EssentiallyEmily.com, an ABC-affiliated reality show is being developed about Kristian and his two friends Devorah Rose and Annabel Vartanian. It’s apparently supposed to be “a Manhattan version of The Hills,” which we would have thought would be impossible because nobody here in New York is that bad at acting. Still, the prospect sounds delicious. Kristian is the lovably quotable socialite/stylist/something-or-other you might remember from that party you went to when you were drunk but not as drunk as everybody else. Devorah is the editor of Social Life magazine, and Annabel is that girl who passed out at the La Perla party in December. It’s going to be about their raucous lives running around the city and desperately striving to be relevant, or at least, you know, present and photographed. Apparently they asked Brill to be on the show. “Emily, tell me the truth. Look at me,” someone involved asked her. “Do you want to be FAMOUS?” Brill considered, and then replied: “No. I want to be respected.” Man, this show is already gold.
SO, ABOUT THAT TELEVISION SHOW [Essentially Emily]
Update: Kristian just called to tell us that Brill “was never involved in any stage of what we were doing.” Apparently the filming that’s been done was not for a reality show, it’s “more like a documentary.” Hey, we’ll take it any way we can get it!
in other news
Steve Madden and Al Roker Lace Up TightWhen we read this morning’s “Page Six” report about Al Roker and Steve Madden doing a reality show together, we couldn’t quite wrap our heads around it. Why would TV’s favorite weatherman (sorry, Willard) want to produce a show about making women’s shoes? Sure, Roker’s production company has done a variety of great one-off specials (the Lifetime Intimate Portrait of Judge Judy leaps to mind). But Steve Madden? The guy who makes those shoes for $60 that look just like the ones you bought for $350? The guy who tricks you into buying those $60 shoes only to have them fall apart faster than a bra from H&M? Why Steve? At first, we assumed it was because the designer recently had to spend three years in prison for money laundering, stock manipulation, and securities fraud. Is he going to do it again, only this time leaving no tracks? Is he going to try and rehab his image? That, after all, would make a good show. But no. It’s going to be about the “round-the-clock pressure that comes with designing and selling hundreds of different styles of women’s shoes.” Man. Unless it involves a L’Oréal Paris Makeup Room and an episode about stilettos made of vegetables, we’re already bored.
SOLE BROTHERS [NYP]
Tinz and Olivia Hate Each Other More Than They Hate GenocideTinsley Mortimer and Olivia Palermo hate each other so much they couldn’t jointly host a benefit for Darfur. John Mayer took Mandy Moore to lunch (at La Esquina) and Cameron Diaz to dinner (at Indochine) on the same day. New School president Bob Kerrey, a former governor and senator from Nebraska, might move back to run Chuck Hagel’s senate seat. Ivanka Trump instituted a “no midriff, no bikini bottom” rule for her October Stuff magazine cover. Former Jets QB Joe Namath is now a grandfather, though his daughter is only 16. Billy Joel thinks his Hamptons benefit concert was overpriced — and not that good. A Mr. Chow is opening in Vegas. Giants safety Will Demps is done with groupies. A Maxim writer thinks Sanjaya and Adrian Grenier are doppelgängers.
E Pluribus, Man BandVH1’s latest genius concept show, Mission: Man Band, debuts today at, well, now. But last night its stars, former boy-banders being molded for your viewing pleasure into the grown-up boy band Sure Shot, celebrated the premiere at Gramercy’s Runway Club. The band’s four members — who hail from Color Me Badd, LFO, 98 Degrees, and ‘N Sync (the Backstreet Boys, apparently, think they still have their original careers) — were disappointingly nice and PR-trained and heterosexual-seeming. 98 Degrees’ Jeffrey Timmons said the show was a “great opportunity” and brought up the possibility of reuniting with his former mates, including Nick Lachey. “I think it’s definitely about that time,” he said, likely noting that Lachey has done nothing musical since Vanessa Minnillo gave him just one night (una noche!).
Will Someone Please Call Family Services on Dina Lohan?Dina Lohan, the “white Oprah,” is in talks to do a reality show for E! in which she’ll try to turn her two youngest kids into stars. And Lindsay’s DUI arrest made it tough for underage girls to get into L.A. clubs after the MTV Movie Awards. Michael Moore has lost 30 pounds eating whole grains and sleeping more. Harvey Weinstein is an investor at Bungalow 8 doorman Armin Amiri’s new club, Socialista. Angelina Jolie is spending time with her children at the expense of spending time with Brad Pitt. Gwyneth Paltrow and David Byrne are bad tippers. Cameron Diaz gave André Balazs a neck rub.
Worshipping Idols, BlandlyA new Idol has been crowned! Long live the Idol! Yes, folks, as we all know by now, Jordin Sparks won American Idol’s sixth season. Are you thrilled and excited? Yeah, us neither. As Caryn Ganz catalogues on Vulture, nearly everyone found last night’s finale a snooze. So what was there to talk about? Find out at Vulture.
‘American Idol’ Builds Up to a Rousing, Earth-Shattering Yawn! [Vulture]
Last night was the last performance show of the American Idol season, and naturally the country is on the edge of its collective seat to find out tonight whether Blake Lewis or Jordan Sparks is the winner. Last night’s theme, according the show’s producers, was the final countdown. But Vulture’s Caryn Ganz disagrees. She says the show was all about failure. How so? Find out at Vulture.
‘American Idol’ Celebrates the Losers [Vulture]
Busy Tim Gunn Moves, Guides, Films
After sixteen years in his West Village apartment, Project Runway host Tim Gunn finally found time to move this weekend to his new Chelsea digs. He’d rescheduled the move four times to make it “as stress-free as possible” between filming the first two episodes of his new show, Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style, based on his book of the same name. “I’d say I’m not a fashion Svengali,” Gunn told us at Project Ruffway the other night of his role on the show. “I’m not going to throw clothes at you and say, ‘If you wear these, all of your fashion woes will be fixed.’ I’m much more of a fashion therapist.” While Gunn films Project in June, producers will look at “tons and tons” of tape for the first two episodes and figure out how to structure the show. “When we go back and do it in July, it should be smoother and better worked out,” said Gunn, who’s taping episode two this week. It’s doubtful he’ll have time soon to install shelves for his 75 boxes of books he moved, but he plans to unpack everything himself, rejecting the idea of a personal assistant. “I couldn’t stand it,” he said. “I’ll wash my own underwear, thank you.” —Amy Odell
The Soho Grand Is a WonderlandRumors of the demise of the John Mayer–Jessica Simpson relationship may be greatly exaggerated; the two spent Sunday night together at the Soho Grand. (Mayer is also still doing the stand-up comedy thing). Today show correspondent Jill Rappaport owns eighteen acres in the Hamptons. Johnny Damon hung out till 4:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, but he still hit a two-run double later in the day. Ivanka Trump and Zach Braff exchanged numbers. (Uh-oh. Does Jared Kushner know about this?) Warren Buffett, David Remnick, John Kerry, Ted Turner, and Jann Wenner, among others (ahem), were all rejected from Harvard. After asking for $5.5 million, Stone Phillips sold his penthouse on West 72nd Street for $4.35 million. Times managing editor Jill Abramson is suing the truck driver who ran over her foot.
Oh, the Absurdity!
Last night’s double-length 24 meant twice the time to finally wind up this season’s plotlines — or twice the chance for ridiculousness. Would they take the responsible route and finally let us know whether Palmer is alive or dead? Whether Logan is alive or dead? Whether Audrey will ever say anything other than “Help me, Jack, please don’t let them do this to me”? How the Russian president turned in like three hours from best buds with crazy Mrs. Logan to the guy ready to start World War III? Alas, the answers there are nope, nope, nope, and nyet. Instead, dirty old Veep Daniels absurdly led the country further down his reckless path of destruction. Over at Vulture, Ben Wasserstein runs the finale through the Absurd-o-Meter.
The ‘24’ Absurd-o-Meter: So Long, Jack Bauer. Until We Meet Again. [Vulture]
If They Don’t Win, It’s a Shame
As we write this, the sun is shining, the birds outside the window are chirping, and last night, on six and a third solid innings from Chien-Ming Wang, the Yanks beat the Sox, 6-2. It’s a good day to be a New Yorker.*
* The whole nine-and-a-half-games-back thing notwithstanding.
the morning line
New York’s Racistest?
• The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the Fire Department for discriminating against minorities. A complaint filed in Brooklyn alleges that the firefighter recruitment exam is racially weighted and serves to “weed out” blacks and Latinos. [Metro]
• We’ve said it should take more than greening your mansion to make it into the news. This qualifies: An abandoned upstate steel mill has reinvented itself as a wind farm, a first for the Rust Belt. [NYT]
• Peter Braunstein didn’t just want to kill Anna Wintour: He also spoke of heading down to New Orleans to head up a gang of angry Katrina survivors, according to a shrink. (Braunstein did briefly pretend to be a hurricane victim to get free food and shelter while on the run.) [amNY]
• Subway Superman Wesley Autrey left NBC’s Deal or No Deal with $25 after picking the wrong suitcase (the other two held $1 million and $10,000, respectively). No X-ray vision, then. [NYDN]
• And there’s some sort of conspiracy afoot among the Post, CBS, Amy Fisher, and Joey Buttafuoco to pretend that there’s some juice left in the Long Island pair’s story — enough, perhaps, to sustain a reality show. Let’s not encourage any of them. [NYP]
The Best Employees Get Hired, and Other Lessons From ‘Top Model’There were two great life lessons to be gleaned from last night’s installment of America’s Next Top Model. One is that the best employees are the ones who have job, and the other is, as contestant Natasha helpfully pointed out, that some people have war in their countries. What’s it all mean? Vulture explains — and recaps the whole episode — in this week’s installment of Tyrade!
Tyrade!: ‘America’s Next Top Model’ Gets Phototastic! [Vulture]
At Parsons Benefit, Tim Gunn Promises Best ‘Runway’ Contestants YetDespite reports of low turnout for Project Runway’s season-four auditions last month, Tim Gunn called them the best ever. “We could have cast three seasons of Project Runway based on the quality in the numbers that we saw,” he said last night at a Parsons benefit attended by Bill Clinton, Mayor Bloomberg, and Donna Karan. “And when the designers are better, frankly, they’re really more fun to work with because you can really have a design dialogue as opposed to that hem’s falling down, why is the sleeve doing what it’s doing?, look at all this bulk — that isn’t fun.” Though busy with a new book, a Project Runway spinoff, and new job as CCO of Liz Claiborne, Gunn won’t leave Runway any time soon. “If there’s a season five for Bravo and for the show, there’s a season five for me because I can’t get enough of it,” he said. —Amy Odell
new york fugging city
‘Top Design’ Was Too Dull Even for Basic Cable
Last night, Bravo’s interior-decorating contest Top Design aired its season finale. Not that you’d know it: Though the climaxes of the hip network’s reality shows for creative types have generated mild (Top Chef) to major (Project Runway) buzz, nobody’s watercoolers are atwitter today with gossip about whether Matt’s monochromatic loft deserved to win. In fact, the only chatter we heard amounted to an anemic, “Is that still on?” And with good reason. Top Design stank.
Al for Hill?Al Sharpton claims he is not backing Hillary Clinton for president, despite a rumor that he and Bill smoked cigars in Harlem two weeks ago. Rupert Murdoch would back Michael Bloomberg for president, if Bloomberg were to run. A $1.5 million lawsuit against Beyoncé, regarding her House of Dereon clothing line, was thrown out. Michael Jackson was reported to have been hospitalized for pneumonia, but his flack says he’s just fine. Bravo is shooting a reality show about photog Patrick McMullan. Jenna Jameson hasn’t been attending meetings with mainstream producers regarding the film adaptation of her book How to Make Love Like a Porn Star because she’s allegedly unhappy with her vaginoplasty.
A Rare Glimpse Into Upper Fifth AvenueYou can’t get more prime than Fifth Avenue. It’s dubbed “the Gold Coast” alongside elegant Park Avenue and the slightly more laid-back, though equally well-heeled, Central Park West for a reason. The park, of course, lends it allure. But block after block of sturdily built, impeccably designed (by Rosario Candela and J. E. R. Carpenter) buildings carved into apartments with grand rooms and graceful proportions also make it a coveted address. The few apartments that are open for viewing, including those in buildings just above or below the choicest stretch running between the East 60s to the high 90s, offer open-house addicts a glimpse of life on the sunny, moneyed side of the street. After the jump, a list of places on Fifth Avenue (and the side streets branching immediately off it) to check in the days ahead. S. Jhoanna Robledo
In the Mailbag: I Want to Be a Producer!Here’s what landed in our in-box today, as reality-TV finally begins to eat itself:
My name is Danielle and I am the casting producer for Magical Elves which does Project Runway, Project Greenlight, Last Comic Standing, Top Chef ect [sic]. We are doing a new show described below looking for the best producers nationwide to compete for a huge prize. Please read the show description below and let me know if you would ever be interested in trying out for something like this or if you know anyone that would be great! If so, please send me your resume, a picture, and your current contact information. Thanks!
AMERICA’S NEXT PRODUCER
Think you have what it takes to be the next Jerry Bruckheimer, James Brooks, JJ Abrams or Mark Burnett? Then we want to hear from you!
Why’d ‘Idol’ Reject Talk Back to Simon? The Bronx Made Him Do ItWe spotted “original New Yorker” Ian Benardo, the Bronx-born recent American Idol reject, at the Zac Posen after-party last night. Benardo made headlines for being super-rude and untalented — he was also rejected from So You Think You Can Dance — which naturally means he’ll soon be making lots of money and is already invited to all the right parties.
So what was Simon’s reaction to your remarks on Idol?
He said that I was the rudest person ever on the show, but the truth of the matter is, like, he’s always putting people down, and he shouldn’t come to New York if he’s not expecting someone to talk back. I’m sorry, he was very rude to me. And also I have a lot going for me! I’m a talented person. I’m the Idol correspondent for Extra now. And also I’ve been on Larry King.
Was there anything else that got edited out?
Simon said that I don’t look like an American Idol, and I told him that, with all his money, he has bigger breasts than Paula, and he should do something about it.
Todd Oldham Is Not Our Bravo IdolTop Chef viewers who dealt with their postpartum depression last night by mooning around Bravo hoping for another toque or two before things were truly cashed found themselves suddenly facing an entirely different kind of high. Coming up next was the premiere of Bravo’s new Top Design, in which Todd Oldham wannabes remake rooms for a chance at some start-up cash and a place in a top interior-design firm. The new show, it seems, will stick to the standard reality formula: early ejection of boring contestants, the establishment of a villain (oodles of possible Marcels, don’t worry), and a new mentor and host in Oldham himself. But that, sadly, is the show’s big problem: Oldham’s wooden delivery was in desperate need of some hot Tim Gunn glue. (How Top Chef’s Padma was allowed to sound half-asleep all the time, we’ll never know.) Which gives us, suddenly, the perfect idea for the next reality show: So You Want to Be a Reality-Show Host. And sorry, Todd, you’ve got some talent, but we just don’t think you’ve got the stage presence to be an idol.
Top Design [BravoTV.com]
Earlier: For Todd Oldham, Brunch Is a Prison
All Hail the Top Chef
Well, hey, who’d have thunk it? Turns out Ilan won Top Chef. (Of course he did. No surprise ending has been this preordained since John Faso thought he stood a chance against Spitzer.) But, still, even though the result wasn’t in doubt, the great existential question of reality television demands attention: What did it mean? Thankfully, Grub Street’s Josh Ozersky joined New York’s favorite couch potato, Adam Sternbergh, to answer just that question. Read their colloquy on Grub Street.
Ilan Won, Yes, But What Does It All Mean? [Grub Street]
in other news
‘Food & Wine’ Burns ‘Top Chef’
Want to know if all those rumors about the Top Chef winner were right? Well, that’s easy to do: Some poor schmuck at Food & Wine magazine made the “pack your knives and go”–level error of posting an interview with the winner to the mag’s Website early. It was soon removed, but not before some readers mastered the copy-and-paste functions. Some non-spoiled tidbits? The winner found judge Padma “mesmerizingly beautiful,” he likes his chicken skin extra-crispy, and he has what is often referred to as “Tin-Tin-ish” hair. Want to know more? Go ahead and click — just don’t say we didn’t warn you.
‘Top Chef’ Winner Revealed For Real! [Grub Street]
Breaking: Top Chef Finale Spoiled AGAIN [Eater LA]
Norm!Norman Mailer still hates Michiko Kakutani, dislikes Janet Maslin, too, and did an interview with Martha Stewart for her TV show. CNN execs went on a corporate retreat to the Bahamas, and “Page Six,” presumably on behalf of Fox News, mocks them for it. If you complain at Nobu, Drew Nieporent might blacklist you. Peter Cook, Christie Brinkley’s soon-to-be ex-husband, went grocery shopping. (Cindy Adams, meantime, dubs Brinkley Professor Emeritus in How to Handle El Piggo, which she actually means as a compliment.) Retired Ford Models vet Neil Hamil to run Elite Models. There’s a reality show being shopped in which ten virgin men compete to lose it to “a celeb.”
Miss Anna May, In Fact, Like Fat PeopleA movement is afoot to regulate the body weight of runway models in New York City, and Anna Wintour is leading it. Blood Diamond director Ed Zwick took Russell Simmons to task after Simmons went on diamond-industry press junket to South Africa and Botswana and claimed the diamond trade there to be mostly beneficial. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin put their Tribeca pad on the market, but only for one day. The Hilton sisters don’t get much love from their potential in-laws. (One suspects the feeling is mutual.) ABC anchor Charles Gibson thinks Mayor Bloomberg will run for president. Nasdaq CEO Bob Greifeld admitted in court that he did not know the difference between a markup and a gross profit margin. The Little Dog Laughed star Julie White got a ticket for bringing her dog on the subway. Brazil’s first lady wants to adopt a child. Demi Moore dragged Ashton Kutcher to Fashion Week in September, but all Ashton wanted to do was watch football. The duo behind holiday show What I Like About Jew have gone their separate ways. Dakota Fanning thinks her next film is wonderful, despite the fact she’s raped in it. Matthew Fox and the cast of SNL hung out late night. Victoria Beckham styled Katie Holmes for a magazine cover shoot, and the 300-plus people involved were (allegedly) instructed not to make eye contact with the ladies. For reasons entirely unclear, Brett Ratner’s grandmother has her own realty show on VH1. Cindy Adams hates on Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto (although she hasn’t seen it), and Liz Smith loves James Lipton.
Paris Hilton (Finally) Embarrasses HerselfParis Hilton’s next movie is so bad even she doesn’t want to be associated with it. Karl Rove ran a great campaign for student-body president in high school. Michael Jackson’s kids are polite, ate cake. Bob Costas told Mario Cuomo, others that the Yankees should trade A-Rod. Exes Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhaal ran into each other at Capitale, talked. Liz Smith likes Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers. A lot. Marc Ecko bought a rhinoceros. Lawyer Lynne Stewart eats healthy. Madonna, who rents her English estate out for pheasant hunts, recently imported some new birds from France. Model Tyra Banks doesn’t like porn star Tyra Banxxx, who just made a new video. CBS is casting a reality show about lazy people. (But nobody bothered to show up! Rimshot!) Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey went to a party, didn’t have their picture taken together. Ellen Burstyn wrote a book. U2 is moving its music-publishing biz out of Ireland, to avoid some taxes. Patrick McCarthy held a dinner for the new W, at which a photographer fell out of his chair. Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott is getting a big dinner at the Rainbow Room for being good to the environment; the Eagles will perform. Aretha Franklin is afraid of heights. “Page Six” is sorry for saying Vince Vaughn was “making out” with a chick he was actually just saying hello to. A blogger says Idaho Senator Larry Craig is gay.
New York Moms Have Got It Going On
“Hotness is not about looking good,” said a diminutive goateed man named Jeff Greenfield. “It’s about taking care of business. Moms are overwhelmed.” Greenfield spoke with the authority; he is the executive producer of the inaugural Hottest Mom in America contest, which was holding its New York tryout Saturday in a warren of studios on Eighth Avenue. At 8 a.m., there had been a throng of 1,000 women — or perhaps 2,000; the line stretched down and around the block, according to Greenfield — hoping to have their shot at Hottest (Which Does Not Mean Most Attractive, Really) Mom. By 2 p.m., it was down to 30 contenders, and from there, the field will be culled to five finalists, who this week will compete to be named the New York winner.